Unite Against Hate Report 2022


Thanks to the support from The Executive Office’s Central Good Relations Funding, the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building delivered ‘Ending Hate. Embracing Diversity.’ as part of the longstanding Unite Against Hate campaign.







Unite Against Hate 2022 comprised of four key elements:

  1. A Workshop Series led by experts on diversity and inclusion (Deepa Mann-Kler), community relations (Sughra Ahmed) and mediation (Dorcas Crawford), helped attendees to develop the skills to overcome their biases, build braver communities and communicate in a healthy and conflict-free manner.
  2. Online and On-demand Workshops based upon the initial workshop series accessible to all for FREE on Unite Against Hate website.
  3. The Unite Against Hate Pledge asking people to challenge, reach out and speak out against prejudice and hate crime within Northern Ireland. This pledge received support from across the community within NI and across political parties with several MLAs signing to pledge support.
  4. The Pledge Launch at the Skainos Centre in East Belfast. This insightful day was organised to include panels discussing topics such as challenges to peaceful relations in NI today, as well as the experiences of ethnic minorities in NI. The pledge itself was launched at the event by the Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl.

CDPB Chair Baroness Ritchie commented: ″Embracing diversity and uniting against hate is crucial in Northern Ireland because we know the consequences of prejudice, discrimination and hatred. We must embrace and support our minority communities and show them that Northern Ireland has learned from the past, and is now a place where diversity is celebrated, not rejected.″

The Unite Against Hate campaign has been delivered by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and supported by the Executive Office’s Central Good Relations Funding, part of the The ‘Together: Building a United Community’ (T:BUC) Strategy.

Book Launch with Dr Ofrit Liviatan, Harvard University: Anything But Steady | 10 May | Ulster University

Book Launch

Dr Ofrit Liviatan, Harvard University: Anything But Steady

Chaired by Professor Duncan Morrow

  • 10th May 2022
  • Ulster University, Belfast

Anything But Steady

At 100 years old, Northern Ireland yearns for reinvention. Exasperated that peace hasn’t yet brought reconciliation, she handpicks Ella Goldin, an American PhD student, to set out her true destiny. But is Ella really the right choice for this mighty task? What can a tenacious yet uninitiated Jewish New Yorker, lacking local ties, possibly contribute? Wrestling with the smoke and mirrors of war and peace, Ella is anchored to Northern Ireland first by will, then by academic duress. All the while, Northern Ireland herself can’t keep mum when it comes to surprising revelations, emerging as a storyteller in her own right. The duo’s entwined quest encounters emotional reversals and witty twists, creating the first-ever testimony by (let’s be frank) an unpredictable piece of Earth about her troubled legacy.

About the Author

Dr. Ofrit Liviatan teaches in the Department of Government at Harvard University. Her academic work cultivated this debut novel. Earlier in her career, Ofrit was a lawyer, and she credits that profession for galvanizing her fascination with the power of a good story. Ofrit resides in Lexington, Massachusetts, with her husband and two daughters.

Register HERE.

Rethinking Leadership. Spiritual Leadership in the Time of War | 28 April | Oxford

Rethinking Leadership. Oxford Series. Spiritual Leadership in the Time of War.

Thursday, 28 April 2022 | 10.30am – 12.30am | Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford

The war in Ukraine showed that victory is not only about raw power. It is also about spiritual leadership. What will change in our vision of leadership? What lessons can we draw from Ukrainian heroic resistance and the solidarity of neighbouring countries with Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees? What does this war mean for the West’s leadership? What cultural resources do we have when faced with violence?

In the first of six seminars in the Rethinking Leadership. Oxford Series we set out to seek models of leadership that address the most pressing challenges of our time. And the war is the first among them. Our initial premise is that leadership is an art of courageous presence in the midst of chaos, it is a spiritual journey between ever-new polarities, it is a search for meaning. In leadership personal authenticity meets social and political dilemmas. But how can we be present when we are faced with atrocities and genocidal acts? Is there a place for love and goodness, when we are overrun with hatred and evil. What is the West’s responsibility for the Russian invasion? What should be our next steps?


  • The Lord Alderdice FRCPsych, Senior Research Fellow, Harris Manchester College
  • Dr Marek Mutor, President of The Platform of European Memory and Conscience, Founder and Director of the ”Memory and Future” Centre and “Centrum Historii Zajezdnia”
  • Dr Anna Abram, Principal of Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge
  • Special Guest: Father Oleh Kindiy, professor of Ukrainian Catholic University
  • Co-chairs: Professor Michal Luczewski, Two Wings Institute and Eva Grosman, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building

Register at: https://tinyurl.com/twowings1

This event is co-organised by the Two Wings Institute and Zajezdnia – the Remembrance and Future Centre in Wroclaw, in partnership with the Oxford Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, Oxford Polish Association and the Polish Cultural Institute in London, and co-financed by the Polish National Foundation.

Public encouraged to make their pledge and Unite Against Hate in Northern Ireland

Unite Against Hate, will today launch a pledge urging the public to challenge, reach out and speak out against hate in Northern Ireland.

People are being encouraged to sign the pledge to show their commitment to tackling prejudice and discrimination in Northern Ireland. This comes as recent PSNI statistics have shown that an average of eight hate crimes or incidents are reported to the police every day across the region, with figures of racist and sectarian incidents rising every year.

Launching today at an event titled “We Are Here”, the Unite Against Hate Pledge has been developed in collaboration with the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME), LGBTQ+, Jewish and other communities from across Northern Ireland. Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Kate Nicholl will address the event where individuals will discuss their experiences of prejudice, discrimination, and racism here.

The Unite Against Hate pledge opens for signatures online today with the public able to have their name displayed on the pledge wall. The pledge has three key parts, for individuals to challenge their own prejudices, reach out to those from a different community, and speak out and not standing by when others experience discrimination or hate.

The Unite Against Hate campaign delivered by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building Pledge has been supported sponsored by the Executive Office’s Central Good Relations Funding programme. To sign the Pledge, visit: https://uniteagainsthate.org.uk/pledge/

Minister for Justice, Naomi Long MLA, said:

“The most important thing we can do is to challenge the reasons why hate crime occurs. We need to learn to embrace diversity and better understand the challenges that other people face.
“When we see intolerance and prejudice, we need to be confident enough to speak out against it. We need to call people out and challenge them to change their ways. We need to do that in private and we need to do it in public.”
“And that’s why I’m lending my support to this Unite Against Hate campaign because I think that changing attitudes is the most important thing we can do to protect people from hate crime.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Kate Nicholl, said:

“I’m proud to have signed the pledge to show my commitment to tackling prejudice and discrimination in Northern Ireland and I encourage everyone to take a moment to add their own signature. There’s absolutely no place for hatred in our society – and it’s up to each and every one of us to take steps to End Hate and Embrace Diversity.”

“I’m passionate about encouraging a more welcoming, kinder Belfast during my term of office and I’m really heartened by the great work that many organisations are doing to help break down stereotypes and combat discrimination. But just imagine what a fantastic place it would be if we all pledged to recognise and address our own prejudices, to reach out and learn from those we see as being different, and to speak out for diversity and inclusion.”

Baroness Margaret Ritchie of Downpatrick, Chair of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, added:

“Embracing diversity and uniting against hate is crucial in Northern Ireland because we know the consequences of prejudice, discrimination and hatred. We have come far in the last 25 years, and we are beginning to see a rich, diverse, multi-cultural society blossom here.”
“We must embrace and support our minority communities and show them that Northern Ireland has learned from the past, and is now a place where diversity is celebrated, not rejected.”

Leadership Academy x UAH: Ending Hate. Embracing Diversity.

Join us for a series of three online workshops to explore how through understanding bias, challenging misconceptions, and the development of better communications skills, we can help to eradicate hate, embrace diversity and become better co-workers, neighbours and citizens.

  • Session 1: “Without Bias” with Deepa Mann-Kler, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist

This session will explore and highlight how bias impacts all of us, what are the triggers, and what we can do to mitigate the impact of bias.

  • Session 2: “Building Braver Communities” with Sughra Ahmed, Director of Education, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK

This session will challenge and explore misconceptions about ethnic and religious minorities and help us to better understand the issues affecting our communities, today. 

  • Session 3: “The Better Way” with Dorcas Crawford, Conflict Management Consultant, The Better Way

 In this session we will look at the skills that help us manage conflict in a healthy, respectful non-combative way.

Group 1

Tuesday evenings: 6pm – 7.30pm

  • Tue, 8 Feb
  • Tue, 15 Feb
  • Tue, 22 Feb

Register at: https://tinyurl.com/ya6bzmcx


Group 2

Thursday mornings: 10am – 11.30am

  • Thurs, 10 Feb
  • Thurs, 17 Feb
  • Thurs, 24 Feb

Register at: https://tinyurl.com/3ucf49jf


Our contributors:

Deepa Mann-Kler, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist

Deepa Mann-Kler is Chief Executive of Neon a health technology company; Visiting Professor In Immersive Futures with Ulster University; has 14 years Non-Executive leadership experience with a cross sector exposure across the UK and is passionate about delivering change in equality, diversity and inclusion. As a thought leader and TEDx speaker she keynotes at conferences on the intersection of technology, innovation, diversity, ethics, bias, culture, data, health and wellbeing through compelling storytelling. Deepa is author of the first report on race discrimination with policy recommendations for the public sector in Northern Ireland “Out Of The Shadows.”

Sughra Ahmed, Director of Education, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK

Sughra Ahmed, Director of Education at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, UK, specialises in human rights education, enabling schools and young people to take a person-centered approach in understanding global human rights and explore the power of agency in creating impactful change.

She is also Founder Director of Bridging Our Divides, an organisation that seeks to build a collective working towards the common good – for which the key principles are listening, understanding, and creating progressive grassroots change by working with people from all walks of life in some of the most socio-economically deprived parts of England.

Working in a range of religious capacities, she has spent time in the UK and USA exploring contextual theology and religious expressions across communities of faith and belief. Most recently, as Associate Dean for Religious Life, at Stanford University, she worked with young people helping them to find meaning and purpose as they moved through their academic lives.

Dorcas Crawford, Conflict Management Consultant, The Better Way

Dorcas is a recovering lawyer, having spent 34 years in Belfast law firm, Edwards & Co. Solicitors where she was Senior Partner until 2021. Dorcas qualified as a mediator in 2008 and in 2015 launched ‘The Better Way’, a specialist conflict management service. She sold her law firm in April 2021, retiring from the law to pursue her passion for helping people to find solutions for conflict through training, facilitation and mediation. Dorcas is well known as a business leader in NI, particularly for her innovative Twitter networking initiative #Belfasthour which became known as one of the most effective online marketing communities for SME’s. Dorcas is a committed supporter of Bowel Cancer UK and is 2021 President of Lean In Ireland.


Lost Treasures of the Revolution: The Graphics of Solidarity 1980 – 1989 exhibition opens at Ulster University, Belfast

Lost Treasures of the Revolution: The Graphics of Solidarity 1980 – 1989 exhibition opened today at Ulster University, Belfast.

It is curated by Catherine Flood and designed by Vipul Sangoi from the V&A Museum Collection. On until 12 March 2022. Birley Building (School fo Art), Ulster University, Belfast. FREE admission. 

The graphics and posters displayed in this exhibition bear witness to the creative energy of the Solidarity movement that was able to mobilise people from all walks of society throughout Poland in the 1980s.

Solidarity (Solidarnosc) was founded in September 1980 after a wave strike action in the Gdansk shipyard. It was the first free trade union in an Eastern Bloc country and became the leading political force opposing the communist regime in Poland. Up to 10 million people participated in Solidarity, making it one of the biggest social movements of the 20th century.

Graphics played an important role in building and sustaining the movement. In the face of censorship and state-controlled media, simply-made banners and printed materials such as posters were a vital means of free expression and communication. Collectively they created a powerful repertoire of images that drew on deeply-rooted symbols of Polish resistance. These posters were designed quickly in response to events. Most were printed in one or two colours due to limited printing resources and their DIY aesthetic added to their sense of credibility. Using imagery that evoked a wealth of shared meanings and emotions for people across Polish society they helped establish a powerful visual language for the movement.

Most graphics were produced at a grassroots community level on small underground presses by designers and ordinary citizens working together with few resources. After Solidarity was outlawed in December 1981, people risked arrest and imprisonment to make and circulate them. Eventually, the Polish government was forced to concede to the first (partly) free elections to be held behind the Iron Curtain since 1946. The overwhelming victory of Solidarity at the ballot box on 4 June 1989 signalled the end of Communist Party rule in Poland and was a crucial stage in the transition towards democracy in Central and Eastern Europe.

Presented in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute and Ulster University Arts.


Funded PhD Opportunity: Exploring the Public Leadership Constellation – A Responsible Leadership Perspective

The Department for the Economy (DFE) has announced that it will be providing funding for a three-year research study of Leadership (PhD) under the supervision of Professor Karise Hutchinson, a member of the Business Management Research Institute at Ulster University and CDPB’s Fellowship Advisory Board Member.

“Exploring the Public Leadership Constellation – A Responsible Leadership Perspective” will be conducted under the remit of Business and Management Studies, and supervised by Professor Hutchinson, Dr Ian Smyth, Interim Associate Head of Department within the Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing, and Professor Mike Hardy, of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at the University of Coventry.

The overall aim of the study is to explore the building of a new public leadership constellation in a post conflict society through the lens of leadership responsibility.  Specifically, the objectives are to understand how place, i.e., a post conflict society, influences the building of a new leadership constellation and relationship dynamics between public leaders; how leadership interactions across different sectors and institutions impact upon leadership responsibility at internal (individual leader mindset) and external (relationship dynamics) levels.

The research approach of this study is defined as ‘Mode 2 research’ (Gibbons et al. 1994; Hartley, 2018) – where the idea emerged from the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building Fellowship programme developed for 24 cross-sectoral leaders spanning political, civic and business society spheres.  Adopting a case study research design, data collection will include observation and interview reporting on the process and impact of the learning undertaken by Fellows during the programme.  The evidence will inform the development of a new model of public leadership constellation and responsibility.

The research study (PhD) position will be part-time, and the DFE’s funding will cover tuition fees at the home rate and a maintenance allowance of £16,000 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

To find out more about this exciting opportunity, including eligibility criteria for the study and scholarship, please visit: https://www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/find-a-phd/1043289

Key dates:

  • Submission deadline – Monday 28th February, 2022
  • Interview date – mid March 2022
  • Preferred student start date – mid September 2022

CDPB announces Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick as the new Chairperson

The Centre for Democracy and Peace Building is delighted to announce the appointment of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick as our new Chair, taking over from Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP. As Chair, Baroness Ritchie will provide strategic leadership and promote the values of democracy and peace in NI and throughout the world.

On her appointment, Baroness Ritchie said: “Earlier this year, I was delighted to join the Board of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building. I have now taken over as Chair from Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP. My sincere thanks and best wishes to Jeffrey for all he has done for the Board in implementing CDPB’s strategy around peace and reconciliation in the global sphere.

The central aim of our important work is to bring about the principles of peace democracy through reconciliation, and there is much good practice that we can share from N Ireland. We are operating many projects – of which one is the Fellowship Programme for political and civic leaders in Northern Ireland, which I hope to support and further during my time as Chair.”

Alongside her duties as Chair, Baroness Margaret Ritchie, born in Downpatrick, Co. Down is a member of the House of Lords (Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick) since November 2019. She is a former MP in the House of Commons for the South Down Constituency from 2010 to 2017 and is a former Member of the NI Assembly from 2003 to 2012.

She is also a former Minister for Social Development from 2007 to 2010 and served for 24 years as a Councillor on Down District Council and held the position of Chair and Vice-Chair of that Council. She also worked as a Parliamentary Advisor and Assistant to the late Eddie McGrady who was the former MP for South Down.

We would also like to announce that the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building is now registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (Registration Number: NIC108448) marking an important new chapter for the organisation.


Political and Civic Leaders graduate from prestigious Fellowship programme

Fellows attended sessions online and in Belfast, Dublin, and Oxford as part of the programme backed by prominent Northern Irish business leaders

Leaders in civic society, business, and politics in Northern Ireland have graduated from the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building’s prestigious new Fellowship programme at a ceremony held at Hillsborough Castle.

The Fellowship aims to support, develop, and build the capacity of Northern Ireland’s political and civic leaders, with its first programme concluding at the Hillsborough Castle graduation ceremony. Through collaboration across the political, local government, business and civic society realms, the Fellowship seeks to spark new conversations that realise Northern Ireland’s potential for progress and innovation.

This year’s Fellowship gave 22 mid-career leaders the opportunity to engage with leading policymakers, business leaders, and public figures, and sought to develop their understanding of how to tackle pressing social, political, and economic issues here. The programme’s Advisory Board, which includes prominent Northern Irish business leaders, curated sessions seeking to re-imagine leadership in Northern Ireland, with Fellows also attending sessions at the internationally renowned Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in Dublin.

Featuring a video address from Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney TD, the graduation ceremony gathered esteemed business and political leaders from the UK & Ireland to mark the end of the first Fellowship programme. Attendees also heard from John Healy, Fellowship Advisory Board Chair and Vice President of Allstate NI, Professor Karise Hutchinson, Advisory Board Vice Chair and Professor at Ulster University, and others including Fellow Dominic O’Reilly.

The Fellowship is delivered by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (CDPB), working with key stakeholders and facilitators from the business sector and leading academic institutions. The programme is supported by Allstate NI, Devenish, FinTrU, Fujitsu NI, Ulster Carpets, the Irish American Partnership, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD, said:

“Congratulations to the Fellows who have graduated from this programme. The pandemic has continued to create uncertainty for all of us, and it is a great achievement to have brought it to this milestone.”

“The Fellowship has provided participants with opportunities to talk about key issues that are important to their communities and the space to think about the kind of leadership that’s needed to work through them. I am glad that my department’s Reconciliation Fund has been able to support this important work.”

“At times, it’s so easy to focus entirely on differences and divergence. When we spend time with each other, we can recognise the greater agenda of things where we’re all working to the same goals. I would like to thank both the Fellows and the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building for their extraordinary work in these challenging circumstances.”

John Healy, Managing Director at Allstate NI and Chair of the Fellowship Advisory Board, said:

“I was thrilled to speak at the Fellowship graduation ceremony in what was a special ceremony held at Hillsborough Castle. This event celebrated the success of the first Fellowship programme which we hope will give our mid-career political and civic leaders the knowledge, skills, and relationships they require to lead Northern Ireland into the next decade.”

“This year’s Fellows have been a credit to themselves and their organisation throughout the programme. Their open-mindedness, diligence and determination led to invigorating conversations on the collective challenges we face in Northern Ireland and beyond. On behalf of the Advisory Board, I would like to thank them for their hard work over the course of this year’s Fellowship, and I look forward to seeing what each Fellow is set to achieve as their career progresses.”

Karise Hutchinson, Professor of Leadership at Ulster University and Vice-Chair of the Fellowship Advisory Board, said:

“It has been both an honour and a privilege to serve as Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for this year’s Fellowship programme. When we set out in this journey, we wanted to start a new conversation in Northern Ireland, one that explores the Spirit of Possibility and the new, innovative method of thinking we need to meet the challenges of today. With thought-provoking discussions throughout, each Fellowship filled me with optimism that Northern Ireland’s future leaders can navigate us through the complexity we are facing in the years to come.”

“I was very proud to congratulate this year’s Fellows at the graduation ceremony, and I wish them all the very best as they continue to work for their organisation or community.”

Dominic O’Reilly, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building Fellow, said:

“Since the start of the Fellowship programme in September, I have found myself developing and growing in ways which I had not anticipated, learning and unlearning, challenging, and validating. While each Fellow comes from a diverse background, we all share a common goal and purpose: to make this place we each call home better, for everyone.”

Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building Fellow, said:

“I am very proud to be a graduate of the first Fellowship programme. I have formed what would be unlikely friendships and have grown to value difference. Each event, speaker, and discussion throughout this year’s Fellowship has continually shown the value of collaboration to address the challenges we face in Northern Ireland.”

The responsibility of leadership. Fellowship Graduation Speech by Dominic O’Reilly.

Centre for Democracy and Peace Building Executive Team, Fellowship Advisory Board, invited guests, and of course, fellow Fellows. 

In preparation for saying a few words tonight about the Fellowship Programme I decided to speak about the lived experience of this programme.

I have had to write this down because, to do justice to this programme and what it has delivered, I didn’t want it to be an off the cuff remark.

In this time of immediate answers, urgency, and confusion I believe it is ever more important to stop, think, and reflect on what one’s words will be.  Such is the power of words.

I could speak and write for hours about this experience, maybe I will.  It has been a journey like no other.  We have each engaged as much as possible in all of our time.  I have learned and unlearned a great deal.  There are two key experiences I’d like to mention.

On our first day at the symposium I found myself seated alongside John Healy and chatting about the programme. I don’t know why, if it was nerves or what but I recall asking him, “So how long has this programme been going?” to which John responded, “Well this is the first time…” “Really?” “Yes!  So you best make it a good one!”

Over time, I have genuinely gained an appreciation of the importance and power of John’s words that day.  The responsibility of leadership.

The second was as the Fellowship was coming to an end I found myself having a conversation with another Fellow about a fairly contentious matter: women’s reproductive rights.

For the first time ever, ever, I became aware that we were having a discussion and not a debate.  It wasn’t about one being right and one being wrong.  It wasn’t about winning or losing.  It wasn’t about changing their mind or them changing mine.

It was about learning about where they were coming from, understanding, and growing.  It required deep listening and a willingness to not have to be right, but just to engage with them.  Ultimately it was about empathy, and shared empathy at that.  I cannot describe what a rewarding conversation it was, when I consider we both hold such strongly held views on the matter.

I honestly do not believe I could have had such a conversation before this programme.

When thinking about tonight I did wonder, how are we graduating when there has been no final exam?  However, as Karise has said so beautifully: leadership is a muscle.  The test for us will be in exercising that muscle as we leave here, in how each of us lead in politics, business and civic society in the next decade and beyond.  That there are some Fellows here who will stand in the Assembly election next year is such a beautiful thing.

Whether we are in politics, business or civic society we need to work together, to be nourished by each other, to challenge each other and to make sure we are not repeating the mistakes of the past but building up the community of this place we call home.

For me personally, I’m continuing on my journey with a new perspective and appreciation for politics.  I entered this programme with a grounding in nonviolence.  The Fellowship has only deepened those roots and made me want to share it with others, to ennoble and empower and to challenge others and myself.  Be warned.

More importantly though, I have gained branches of Fellow leaders, that I can lean on, that I can encourage and that I can work with and who I cannot wait to work with.  The challenge is on us now to take the major investment which so many have placed in us and to transform our shared home into a place of understanding, empathy and genuine inclusion and equality.

Thank you to Eva and everyone who invested, prepared and delivered this programme.

Now, in conclusion last week Eva very kindly referred to me as the Poet, and that just warms my soul.  In the Spirit of Possibility I’d like to end with these words for everyone here tonight, committed to building a more democratic, and peaceful home for us all.  We are the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building.



I sat one day in Belfast town,

An old man stopped, May I sit down?

Please feel free, come take a seat,

Rest your heart and rest your feet.


The old man sat, sir you are too kind,

But do you mind if I ask, just what’s on your mind?

You look deep in thought, your face it is stern,

What weighs on your soul? Please help me to learn.


The cause of my worry, is hard to make clear,

I feel lost in the present, where the past has appeared.

I cannot make sense of the anger and fear,

I cannot make sense of the voices I hear.


The voices you speak of, what do they say?

Do they console, or condemn, or perhaps do they pray?

No, the voices are angry, they shout and they grow,

They say who to blame, and call out the foe.


Though I know in my heart there is more to their call,

There must be a reason for their frustration and gall,

Yet still in my heart, I feel a fear rise like a flame,

It’s the path leading on from anger and blame.


We know where it leads, that pathway I fear,

We saw it before, for too many years,

The worst of it is, the ones on this track

Have lived through it already, so why drag us back?


I watch the events now unfolding at ease,

And see foolish leaders, who can’t see wood for the trees,

Just what will it take for their anger to quell?

Why can’t they just listen, and let their hearts swell?


I guess I’m just worried, at decisions we take,

Always remaking the exact same mistakes.

I just want to look forward with faith and not rage,

Know our future is free and not locked in a cage.


My soliloquy now finished, the old man leaned in near,

Your truth you have spoken, it was a privilege to hear,

I know you are worried, and I know you are scared,

But just hear me out, and we’ll take it from there.


The world only moves forward, it can never reverse,

Regardless of those who shout, scream or curse,

They are the ones resisting the tide,

But it’s just their own fears, and their own foolish pride.


Remember there is only so much you can do,

You can’t fix it all, but you can start anew,

So now every day when you rise from your bed,

Give thanks for each one, your foe and your friend.


Embrace all your fear and your worries and doubt,

And don’t be afraid to cry, wail or shout.

You are only human, and so let it be heard,

Tame the savageness of man and make gentle the world.


The old man he stood and then shook my hand,

Don’t worry my friend and don’t fear for your land.

For the Spirit of Possibility, is alive in your heart,

So now go move forward and now make a start.


Tell your truth in all those places you’ll go,

Bring love to the fearful and the ones filled with woe.

Let your own heart-truth be your battle cry,

Let it reach to all corners and soar up to the sky.


Seek out the ones who will not agree,

Don’t let them slink off and don’t let them flee,

Make sure that they listen and make sure they know,

If they can’t work together, then they’ll just have to go.


Help others to see past their ego and rage,

Collective future assured, like birds out of a cage,

Build up the home where violence will cease,

Build it up a home of democracy and peace.


So keep your heart gentle and keep your heart kind,

And always remember, look after your mind.